Monday, June 5, 2023


Government Drops the State of Emergency for the 1st Time in 18 Months. What It Means for You

The state of emergency was fully dropped as of 12 am Saturday following 18 months of curfews.

The curfews were implemented by the former Minnis-led administration in March 2020 to restrict movement and business operations as the COVID19 cases spiraled and the healthcare system became overwhelmed with patients.

Businesses were also forced to reduce business hours to accommodate the curfews and occasional lockdowns.

Countries around the world used similar methods to assist in combating the infectious disease.

What does it mean?

This now means that Bahamians are free to travel in and around the country at any time without impediment.

However, they must continue to follow the protocols like being socially distant, wearing mask and sanitizing.

Parties and social events are limited to 20 people who are fully vaccinated for indoor events and vaccinated or negative COVID19 test for outdoor events.

Restaurants maximum seating is 50 percent for fully vaccinated or negative COVID19 testing for patrons.

Weddings and funerals are limited to 33 percent.

There has been a steady fall in cases and on Friday the Center for Disease Control lowered the country’s COVID level to 3.

Anyone convicted of breaking the rules can be fined not exceeding $1000 or a term in prison not more than 1 year or both.

What the new health minister says

Minister of Health and Wellness Michael Darville said the country was under a state of emergency for too long and it needed to be lifted. Darville said he was not convinced the curfew played a significant role in reducing COVID-19 spread.

He expects that Bahamians will be disciplined as the country fully reopens.

Photo credit: Tribune

The Emergency Order Was Amended. Is There Still A Competent Authority?

The House of Assembly passed an amendment to the COVID-19 Pandemic (Special Provisions) 2021 in the House of Assembly on Wednesday, seeking to end the Emergency Order which expires on Saturday. But not without question from the Opposition, who queried the controversial title of the competent authority.

The Emergency Order was implemented by the former Minnis administration. This bill seeks to replace it with a few changes.

Who gets the new power?

The title of the competent authority is no longer a part of the new bill. Instead, powers lie within the Ministry of Health which has control of the ongoing pandemic. Particular powers are also given to the Minister of Health Michael Darville who can shut down businesses, on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer, if it does not adhere to the regulations or if there is an outbreak.

Under the former administration, Former Prime Minister Hubert Minnis was criticized for the title, which gave him sole powers, on the advice of medical officers, to operate in that vein.

What are the new changes and how will they work?

Aspects of the Emergency Order will come to an end which includes the curfews. However, Bahamians will still be required to wear masks, sanitize, and socially distance themselves.

Businesses are still required 50% occupancy and admittance of patrons showing proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.

Businesses must give a protocol document pertaining to its guidelines for operation as approved by the Ministry of Health.

What do others think?

Former Cabinet Minister and Marco City MP Michael Pintard supports changes to the bill but worries that the Minister of Health, Michael Darville may now run the risk of becoming the new competent authority, due to his new duties in the bill.

Pintard thinks the powers are too broad and are similar to powers Minnis once held, which the PLP, when it was in opposition, readily criticized.

“The competent authority, if you’re not extending the emergency powers, should come to an end … in the shortest possible period of time. It was only designed for a short period of time,” he said.


Meet Davis’ Cabinet Members

Eight members of the Cabinet were sworn in on Monday afternoon to serve as ministers in the Davis-led administration.

Prime Minister Philip Davis said they will “deliver the party’s promise of a new day.”

  1. Fred Mitchell–Minister of Foreign Affairs. He is an outspoken member of the PLP and was party chairman. He served in the Perry Christie administration in the same position in 2012. When the PLP lost in 2017, he lost his seat but was appointed PLP senator.
  2. Glennys Hanna-Martin–Minister of Education and Vocational Training. She has been a longtime member of the PLP, having served in the Christie administration in 2012 as Minister of Transport and Aviation. The party lost in 2017, but she retained her seat and was one of four PLPs who returned to the Parliament as the opposition.
  3. Michael Darville–Minister of Health. He was the MP for Pineridge and Minister of Grand Bahama in 2012 in the Christie administration. When his party lost, he became a PLP senator.
  4. Michael Halkitis–Minister of Economic Affairs and Leader of Government Business in the Senate. He lost to the FNM in the 2021 election. He served in the Christie administration as the Minister of State for Finance in 2012.
  5. Clay Sweeting–Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs. He ran against FNM MP Ricky Martin in 2017 and lost. The fisherman was then appointed a PLP senator in the Upper Chamber.
  6. Alfred Sears–Minister of Works and Utilities. He was the Member of Parliament for Fort Charlotte from 2000 to 2012 and served in the Christie administration. He lost his seat to the FNM in 2017. He once served as Minister of Education and as Attorney General in the Christie administration.
  7. Wayne Munroe–Minister of National Security. He is a prominent lawyer. He ran in 2017 for the PLP but lost to the FNM. He was also a former DNA member.
  8. Jomo Campbell–Minister of State for Legal Affairs. He is new to politics and is believed to be a lawyer in Wayne Munroe’s office.

Davis said his Cabinet “will move with urgency, that this moment requires.”

Governor-General C.A Smith asked that the country “set aside differences until next five years.” He added, “Don’t worry about tomorrow. Let’s unite and together make a better Bahamas.”

Central and South Eleuthera MP Battles COVID-19

Member of Parliament for Central and South Eleuthera Hank Johnson confirmed that he tested positive for COVID-19.

In a press release, Johnson said he is hospitalized.

“Today I received test results confirming I have COVID-19. I am currently hospitalized in New Providence.

“I thank the medical staff for their skilled and detailed care of me and all the Bahamians battling this illness.Please keep me and all those in our country afflicted with COVID-19 in your prayers,” Johnson said.

Johnson is one of few politicians who have tested positive for the infectious disease.

On Sunday, PLP Leader Philip Davis and Senator Michael Darville confirmed that they too, tested positive for the virus.

A local daily, Nassau Guardian reported that Davis was set to be airlifted to the United States to be near his daughter who serves as an anesthesiologist and critical care physician.

Davis is said to be experiencing a “slight cough.”

Darville is still believed to be in the care of Doctor’s Hospital.

President of the FNM Women’s Asssociation Vanessa Scott expressed prayers for a complete and speedy recovery of Johnson, Davis and Darville.

“Prayers of healing are also extended to all of those persons afflicted with this enemy as they battle their way back to good health,” she said.